What We Believe
First off, we want to say that you don’t have to subscribe to any belief in order to be welcome at our church! Our doors are open to everyone. But the following is intended to give you a very basic understanding of the faith of our members. Although, it would be naïve to think that all Lutherans, let alone all Christians, believe exactly the same things. There are, however, some foundational beliefs to Christianity, and here’s our attempt to explain.
Christians believe there is one God, who created the universe and everything in it. But God isn’t a solitary being like each of us – there exists relationship within the very nature of God. We have come to know God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Not three separate gods, but One God in three persons. We call this “The Trinity”. It’s not something any of us can fully understand. God is so infinitely more than we can comprehend or imagine, it’s not surprising that we need to coin a separate word (Trinity) to try to describe him.
Our Relationship to God
Christians believe that God wants to have a relationship with us. Amazingly, he loves us as a parent loves a child – and beyond, because God is perfect in his love. The trouble is, we are rebellious children who want to be in charge of our own lives and answer to no one, certainly not to God. We call this rebellion “sin”. Sin is evil and it divides and separates us from God. It’s not something anyone can get rid of by “being good”. God is holy. Our sin makes it impossible to be with God. Except that God made a way! Read on…
Christians believe that God himself saves us from the eternal consequences of sin (eternal separation from God). Infinite God humbled himself and became one of us, the man Jesus. We refer to Jesus as God’s “Son” as a way to express that Jesus was not a creation of God’s, but God in the flesh. But Jesus didn’t appear to be a man, he was a man. Fully God, fully man. Jesus lived the perfect, sinless life that we are unable to live. Jesus’ willing death on a cross was a sacrifice to atone for all the sins of mankind: past, present, and future. Aside from physical death, he experienced a complete separation from God – spiritual death. He then overcame Death itself, rose, and was reunited with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in a perfect relationship. When we come to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice to atone for our sins, God forgives our sins and our relationship with God is restored.
The Holy Spirit
Christians believe that God doesn’t just live “out there” somewhere, but also comes alongside each person who wants to know God. And, when we are baptized and accept God’s forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus, our relationship with God the Holy Spirit becomes very close: he dwells within us. This is the “spiritual” side of Christianity, where God gets personal with us.
What makes Lutherans distinct from other Christians? There’s a lot of history and a lot of detail that could go into answering that question. But aside from traditions and such, a defining characteristic of Lutherans is what we emphasize in our teaching about Christianity. Lutherans emphasize this:
Faith alone. Grace alone. Scripture alone.
In a nutshell:
How are we saved from the eternal consequences of our sin? We are saved though our faith in Jesus alone. Not by our good works. We’re not on a point system.
Why does God save us? God saves us by his grace. Not because we deserve it. Just because he loves us and wants to be with us.
How do we know any of this? We know this from the words of the Bible. Our beliefs about God must be supported by the Word of God. Adding on extra stuff is not ok.
A word about good works
Good works are important! But God doesn’t love us and save us because of our goodness. Really, if you had a naughty child who fell into a swimming pool, would you try to decide if he or she was good enough to rescue? Good works are the natural children of a living faith that is grateful to God and seeks to please him. But people who go to church are sinners, like everyone else. We just admit it! And we struggle along together, encouraging one another in our faith and responding to God with good works even though we stumble in our sinful nature daily.
The Sacraments of Baptism and The Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion)
These rites were instituted by Jesus Christ as means by which God creates faith and gives forgiveness and salvation. Through baptism God unites us with Jesus. In the Lord’s Supper we commune with the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Contact us to learn more about these special blessings that God has given to his church.
The Apostle’s Creed
This statement of faith was written very early on in the history of the church, and remains a succinct statement of the essentials of the Christian faith. It is used by numerous Christian denominations (including Lutherans) to this day.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.